An Analysis of Centrality Measures for Complex and Social Networks

Felipe Grando, Diego Noble, Luis C. Lamb

Measures of complex network analysis, such as vertex centrality, have the potential to unveil existing network patterns and behaviors. They contribute to the understanding of networks and their components by analyzing their structural properties, which makes them useful in several computer science domains and applications. Unfortunately, there is a large number of distinct centrality measures and little is known about their common characteristics in practice. By means of an empirical analysis, we aim at a clear understanding of the main centrality measures available, unveiling their similarities and differences in a large number of distinct social networks. Our experiments show that the vertex centrality measures known as information, eigenvector, subgraph, walk betweenness and betweenness can distinguish vertices in all kinds of networks with a granularity performance at 95%, while other metrics achieved a considerably lower result. In addition, we demonstrate that several pairs of metrics evaluate the vertices in a very similar way, i.e. their correlation coefficient values are above 0.7. This was unexpected, considering that each metric presents a quite distinct theoretical and algorithmic foundation. Our work thus contributes towards the development of a methodology for principled network analysis and evaluation.

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